Josh Doherty was a one-of-a-kind caring young man who lived his life to the fullest. It wasn’t surprising he would continue this with the gift of life through organ donation.
He had once told his mother, Teri Doherty, that someday he was going to be famous. He was on his way to reaching that goal. One of three siblings, he grew up in central Wisconsin loving the outdoors and working hard. He was following in his father’s footsteps, serving on the Armenia Volunteer Fire Department. Plus, he was working to become an emergency medical technician. His dream was to someday become a full-time firefighter.
Phil Doherty, his father, had been a flight paramedic for years and would tell the children stories of tragedy and trauma, sharing details about his work followed by reminders for them to be safe – wear helmets on bikes, be safe crossing streets, be careful.
An accident on an early fall night in 2019 changed the family’s life forever.
Watch this beloved son’s story through the eyes of his parents, who knew their son would want to give the ultimate gift of life through organ donation.
This was very touching as our family made a decision of organ donation for our Son who was disabled with CP all 54 years of his life, depending on someone for everything. He had many close calls at UW through the last two years of his life, where he had been treated often for all his medical needs and we just prayed we could be with him when his time came. And we were. When asked about organ donation we didn't think it possible because of all his issues but in the end it was. It was the most profound experience we have ever had! Our Son's organs were not able to be donated to a live person, but his kidneys, and corneas were donated to research. In the end his heart was too, and was the first of a research program that the UW Cariology Dept was doing after receiving a grant just prior to our
son's passing. It was first referred to as 'Heart in a Box', meaning it was used to test viability for transporting hearts for a long distance for transplant. And as it turned out Jim's heart was the first used for the research and shortly after in December a first transplant was done using this new research, and many more since then. So our Son lives on through research and can help many, as also with kidney research. We feel blessed knowing that our Son who depended on someone his whole life, in the end was able to give such a gift to others. He is Our HERO!